As a child I found delight in leaf and twig and tree.
Such simple gifts of nature were a source of joy to me.
Birds singing in the tree-tops, the sun against my face,
Splashing through the puddles, as round the woods I’d race.
Taking home a sticky-bud and placing in a jar,
Then watching slowly open the green five-pointed star.
Collecting burnished conkers, lying where they fell,
Amongst the Autumn-tinted leaves and peeping from the shell.
But now it seems much harder to enjoy such simple things;
To receive with open hands and heart the gifts that each day brings.
No longer just accepted with unconsidered pleasure,
But analysed and categorised, I miss the hidden treasure.
O to be a child again! And put off grown up ways.
To know again the myriad gifts with which you fill my days.
To know you as my Father, and to know that I’m your son,
And as a child to trust your ways until my days are done.
I wrote this poem on a retreat day back in January 2000. Now I am not going to pretend that these are the greatest lines ever penned, but they do nonetheless capture the essence of what I was thinking and feeling at that time. Perhaps more importantly, they also capture something of what I believe to have been God’s word for me that day: the need for a more childlike approach to my life and faith. Whilst it was almost 10 years before I started writing As a Child, this was really the beginnings of the book.